Trump-backed candidate in Wash. House race appears to stall

May 12, 2022, 8:44 AM | Updated: 8:50 am
FILE - Republican Loren Culp greets a large crowd, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a rally near Graham,...

FILE - Republican Loren Culp greets a large crowd, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a rally near Graham, Wash., during his unsuccessful run for governor. Culp is now challenging incumbent GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse in Washington's 4th U.S. House District. He has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump but has lagged other Republican candidates in reported fundraising figures. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The insurgent candidate backed by former President Donald Trump appears to be stalling in a crowded field of Republicans challenging the GOP incumbent for a U.S. House seat in conservative central Washington state.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, a four-term congressman, has drawn primary challengers thanks in part to being among the few in his party who voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Perhaps the best known outside candidate in Washington’s 4th Congressional District’s intraparty feud is Loren Culp, who’s running against his own Republican Party as much as he is against Newhouse.

Culp, a former small town police chief who lost the 2020 governor’s race to Democrat Jay Inslee but refused to concede, won Trump’s endorsement in February, but has lagged other candidates in reported fundraising figures.

Trump’s influence among GOP voters is being tested in midterm elections across the country this year as he looks to flex his power and punish his enemies ahead of a possible 2024 presidential campaign. Trump has vowed to take down the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, and four have already announced they won’t be seeking re-election. So far, Trump has found mixed success in his endorsement record, but it’s still early in the primary season.

In addition to Culp, four other GOP candidates are running against Newhouse in the Aug. 2 primary. Because of Washington’s top-two system, two Republicans could end up on the fall ballot. The top two primary vote-getters advance, regardless of party.

Todd Schaefer, a political scientist at Central Washington University, said he has been surprised by how little money Culp has raised, given his high-profile run for governor two years ago.

“On paper he should have good name recognition,” Schaefer said. “You would think he’d get a lot of grassroots support.”

Culp was invited to visit with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in late February. Trump’s endorsement of Culp read in part: “Loren Culp is running against RINO Congressman Dan Newhouse … Loren will always defend your personal liberty, our under-siege Second Amendment, election integrity and law enforcement.”

The other GOP challengers in the race are Jerrod Sessler, a Navy veteran and former NASCAR driver who has raised the most money; Corey Gibson; state Rep. Bradley Klippert, R-Kennewick; and Benanacio Garcia III.

As of the March 31 filing deadline, Culp had raised just $191,000 and had just $23,000 in cash on hand. Sessler had raised $444,000 and had $146,000 in the bank. Democrat Doug White had raised $230,000 and also had $146,000 in the bank. Gibson, Klippert and Garcia had raised little money.

Culp’s campaign has declined to return telephone calls from reporters but has made statements on Facebook. He lashed out recently at Republican Party officials who do not share his conservative views.

“The party can come and go … the Constitution is first and foremost,” Culp said. “God, family, country. That’s what’s important.”

Culp served as a police officer and then police chief of the small town of Republic for a decade. His job was eliminated because of budget cuts shortly after the 2020 election. He has since moved to Moses Lake.

Schaefer isn’t surprised so many Republicans decided to challenge Newhouse.

“The vote to impeach Trump put a target on him,” Schaefer said, noting that Newhouse otherwise seems a good fit for the district. The 4th runs from the Canadian border to the Columbia River through the agricultural heartland of the state east of the Cascade Range. The district is home to apple and cherry orchards, vineyards and wineries and a bounty of other farm crops and its biggest population centers are the Tri-Cities and Yakima.

Newhouse, who won 66% of the vote in 2020, so far has run a low-key campaign campaign, although he has veered to the right in an effort to fend off the challengers.

Newhouse, first elected in 2014, has raised $1.2 million and had $928,000 in the bank as of March 31.

“Dan is going to win because voters see that he’s a real conservative who works hard and gets results for the people he serves,” Newhouse campaign manager Derek Flint wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

The Washington State Republican Party will not endorse a candidate prior to the primary, chair Caleb Heimlich said.

The party last year decided it was “disappointed” with Newhouse and U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington’s 3rd District for voting to impeach Trump. The party said it would treat the incumbents and any GOP challengers as equals this year.

“We want to make sure we hold the seat,” Heimlich said. “It’s up to the voters of the 4th Congressional District who they want to represent them.”

Heimlich predicted that two Republicans will likely emerge from the primary to the general election in what is considered the state’s most conservative district.

But Schaefer said with so many Republicans in the primary, it is possible that White, the lone Democrat in the race, could finish in the top two and advance to the November general election.

“But whoever gets the Republican nomination will have the advantage,” in the general election, Schaefer said.

The endorsement of Culp continued Trump’s pattern of seeking to oust politicians who have refused to echo his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Trump has also endorsed Joe Kent, a challenger to Herrera Beutler.

Like Trump, Culp has lobbed false claims of widespread voter fraud.

He refused to concede the 2020 gubernatorial race after losing to Inslee by 545,000 votes. Culp also filed a lawsuit over the results but quickly withdrew it after his attorney was threatened with sanctions for making meritless claims in a court of law.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Neighbors pray for the brothers Yovani and Jair Valencia Olivares and their cousin Misael Olivares ...
Associated Press

In a small village, prayers and hope for missing migrants

SAN MARCOS ATEXQUILAPAN, Mexico (AP) — Clutching rosaries, residents of this mountain village stared at photographs of three of their own atop the altar at the local church, praying that teenagers Jair, Yovani and Misael were not among the 53 migrants who perished inside a stifling trailer in Texas. The wait for confirmation has been […]
8 hours ago
GM Logo Gradient (01-28-21) This image provided by General Motors shows the GM Logo. The global sho...
Associated Press

Chip shortage leaves 95K GM vehicles incomplete in storage

DETROIT (AP) — The global shortage of computer chips forced General Motors to build 95,000 vehicles without certain components during the second quarter. The Detroit automaker said in a regulatory filing Friday that most of the incomplete vehicles were built in June, and that it expects most of them to be finished and sold to […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge won’t dismiss parent lawsuit in Gabby Petito slaying

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit in which the parents of Gabby Petito claim that Brian Laundrie told his parents he had killed her before he returned home alone from their western trip. The decision Thursday by Sarasota County Circuit Judge Hunter Carroll means the lawsuit can proceed […]
8 hours ago
FILE - This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, w...
Associated Press

African officials: Monkeypox spread is already an emergency

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Health authorities in Africa say they are treating the expanding monkeypox outbreak there as an emergency and are calling on rich countries to share the world’s limited supply of vaccines in an effort to avoid the glaring equity problems seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Monkeypox has been sickening people in parts […]
8 hours ago
FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pr...
Associated Press

WHO: Monkeypox cases in Europe have tripled in last 2 weeks

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization’s Europe chief warned Friday that monkeypox cases in the region have tripled in the last two weeks and urged countries to do more to ensure the previously rare disease does not become entrenched on the continent. Dr. Hans Kluge said in a statement that increased efforts were needed […]
8 hours ago
An Amtrak train which derailed after striking a dump truck is seen beyond a corn field Monday, June...
Associated Press

Lawsuits filed days after deadly Missouri Amtrak crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The first lawsuits have been filed only days after an Amtrak train collision and derailment in rural Missouri that left four people dead and injured up to 150 others. Amtrak and BNSF Railway Co. filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the concrete contracting company that owns the dump truck hit […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Trump-backed candidate in Wash. House race appears to stall